DEAR ABBY: I’m a lesbian. My girlfriend and I have been together for a couple of months now. We fell in love quickly and we’re getting ready to move in together. I’m really excited about it, but an “incident” happened recently while we were spending time together.
We were watching TV, and I noticed she was on a website looking at women wearing bikinis. At first I thought, “Are you serious? Right in front of me?” So I looked over and asked her about it. She looked back at me and said, “What?” It made me feel incredibly insecure.
I know she loves me, but she doesn’t understand how hurt I was seeing that. It made me feel like I’m not enough. What should I tell her? Should I break up with her? Or am I wrong to feel this way? — TORN IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR TORN: Your relationship is new. Looking at pictures of people dressed in swimming attire is hardly indicative of a porn addiction or a hint that you are not “enough.”
Before you two move in together, you both need to talk this through, and you ABSOLUTELY need to learn to deal with your feelings of insecurity because, if you don’t, they could eventually drive away any of your love interests. Please, get to know each other for a longer period before taking your relationship to the next level by moving in.
DEAR ABBY: I’m 44 and divorced. I have no kids and I live with my parents. I didn’t finish college but I do have a job in my field of study. I’m happy in my job, have some friends and am content to not date anyone ever again. However, I feel like I’m a failure.
I’d be embarrassed to go to a school reunion and have to tell my former classmates about my pathetic life. I was always the ambitious one in my circle of friends. I was the one who was going to make something of myself and have an amazing career, a husband and kids. My parents are disabled, and it does help that I live with them. I pay rent/utilities and for my own groceries.
How can I convince myself that I haven’t made a complete mess of my life and that my circumstances don’t mean my life has been wasted? — SELF-CONSCIOUS IN ARIZONA
DEAR SELF-CONSCIOUS: While you may not have achieved the lofty goals you set for yourself when you were younger, you are being awfully hard on yourself by calling yourself a “failure.” You have a job you love, in the field in which you want to work, and good friends. (In order to have friends, you have to be one.)
I assume the reason you are content to no longer date is past relationships didn’t work out. If I’m right, that makes you a member of a very large club. Please try to remain open-minded, because one day you may meet someone you can care about and who will appreciate the value in you. And caring for your disabled parents is a heavy responsibility, and needs to take priority over a social life.
A way to counteract these self-defeating, negative feelings would be to concentrate every day on those things you HAVE accomplished, rather than what you perceive to be your shortcomings, instead of comparing yourself to others.
DEAR ABBY: My 38-year-old son is in jail for meth. He’s been an addict for many years. I tried several times to help him, but he always relapsed. He has been in rehab. His mother and I divorced when he was 7. He was a great kid until the divorce. After that, he became distant and wouldn’t talk much to me.
His mother tried to make up for the divorce by doing everything for him. When I wanted him to do something, like his homework, he would just sit and stare. I couldn’t punish him because I was afraid he wouldn’t want to come to my place when it was my weekend to have him. I did things with him and tried to show him I loved him, but I think he blamed me for the divorce. (It was my wife who wanted it.)
I don’t think he ever loved me like a son normally loves his father, the way I loved and respected mine. He rejected any advice I tried to offer and paid no attention when I tried to teach him something.
I’m trying to decide if I want to contact him. I feel like I have always had to do the heavy lifting to try to have a relationship with him, and he made no effort at all to sustain one with me. If I never heard from him again, I really wouldn’t miss him. All he has ever been is a taker. So I’m asking: Should I bother trying to get in contact with him while he is in jail? — FRUSTRATED FATHER IN TEXAS
DEAR FATHER: Your son is sick — an addict. That he is in jail will hopefully mean he can attain sobriety. Reach out to him one more time. He may believe you deserted him and his mother because she allowed him to believe it, which would explain his attitude toward you all these years. It might be of some benefit to him to be reminded that you love him and care about his well-being. Once he is clean, he may have a different attitude where you are concerned. If not, at least you tried.
DEAR ABBY: I have ended a four-year romantic relationship. When times were good, they were very good. I had some of the most joyful and wonderful experiences of my life with him, my children and his family. We were planning to spend the rest of our lives together.
However, when the going got rough, he started seeing other women and, later, was hateful to one of my tween children. Even as I write that last part, I am appalled. I know in my head the relationship had to end, yet I continue to cry over the loss every day, and my sleep remains disrupted.
What’s the matter with me that I’m pining over a man who turned so sour? I should feel relieved, right? How can I help myself move through this? — TOO MANY TEARS
DEAR TEARS: I sympathize with your disappointment. We have all been there. Now wipe your nose, dry those tears and remind yourself that, had the romance continued, you might have married someone who would verbally abuse your children and cheat on you. You aren’t crying over the loss of “him” as much as grieving the loss of a dream that didn’t come to fruition. Stay busy and focus harder on looking ahead, and you will move through this more quickly.